Media Relations » Articles , Presentations, Press Releases

PreventObesity.net article — March 2013

 

In its hey­day, Atlanta’s his­toric Pull­man Train Yard was where the South’s train cars and large loco­mo­tives were repaired and refit­ted for ser­vice. These days, the 25-acre site sits aban­doned, a decay­ing piece of Atlanta’s indus­tri­al past.

But PreventObesity.net Leader David Epstein envi­sions a bright new future for the train yard. He wants to trans­form it into a sports and nutri­tion facil­i­ty, where Atlanta res­i­dents — espe­cial­ly chil­dren — can take part in a num­ber of sports and activ­i­ties and also learn how to eat healthy.

In Atlanta, we have a tremen­dous amount of peo­ple and tons of fam­i­lies who are mov­ing back into the city, and we just don’t have the infra­struc­ture for sports and activ­i­ties,” he says. “I thought, ‘We have to find some space, so old indus­tri­al spaces in town, and turn them into active spaces.’”

A preschool teacher and ten­nis coach, Epstein launched the non­prof­it Atlanta Con­tact­Point with the mis­sion of build­ing a mul­ti-use activ­i­ty cen­ter that can be used to pro­mote over­all well­ness.

The Pull­man train yard site is per­fect, he says. Near­by pub­lic tran­sit con­nects the North and South sides of the city, mean­ing all Atlanta res­i­dents will be able to use it, espe­cial­ly low-income res­i­dents who might not have any oth­er options. The site also is big enough to accom­mo­date mul­ti­ple needs, from sports fields to indoor bas­ket­ball courts to a green­house and office space for non­prof­it groups.

The goal, Epstein says, is to make it a cen­tral place for Atlanta denizens to get healthy. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to turn this space into a greens space, where every square inch will be for activ­i­ty,” Epstein says.

While Atlanta Con­tact­Point rais­es the funds nec­es­sary to buy the site — the state is tak­ing bids on the prop­er­ty lat­er this year, Epstein says — the orga­ni­za­tion already is work­ing to build healthy habits with its “PLAY DAYs.” Fam­i­ly-focused events held at local Atlanta parks, the PLAY DAYs offer res­i­dents the chance to try out dif­fer­ent types of sports and activ­i­ties.

Through­out the day, local coach­es and orga­ni­za­tions offer class­es to get kids phys­i­cal­ly active, includ­ing flag foot­ball, ulti­mate Fris­bee, street hock­ey, yoga, mar­tial arts, ten­nis, dance and even hula-hoop­ing.

You just get a choice to play dif­fer­ent sports you might not nor­mal­ly get to play,” Epstein says. “We want kids to be intro­duced to new things.”

Local farmer’s mar­kets and oth­er retail­ers also are sched­uled to take part in the PLAY DAYS, offer­ing sam­ples of healthy prod­ucts to try at home. Con­tact­Point also will help pro­mote pub­lic tran­sit and alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion via “Bike to PLAY DAY,” which will see par­tic­i­pants meet­ing at a tran­sit sta­tion and bicy­cling to the park where the main event is being held.

Six PLAY DAYs are already sched­uled be held this year, with the first one set for March 16. While it might be a few years before the new facil­i­ty is built at the old Pull­man site, Epstein is con­fi­dent that his orga­ni­za­tion already is mak­ing an impact.

It’s all about play­ing, hav­ing fun and learn­ing about what it takes to be healthy,” Epstein says. “And these are things we can do now.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Media Relations - See also: Articles , Presentations, Press Releases and Pictures